Each day, I receive emails or messages from women who desire to read and understand the Bible more. They yearn to grow closer to God through His Word, but, often don’t know where to begin.
While you can purchase Bible studies (or find dozens of free Bible studies online), the best place to start is with the Bible, itself. God’s Own Word.
There are tons of different Bible study methods easily found in a quick Google search, but I’m going to give you a simple Bible study method and Bible notetaking tips using just The Bible, a notebook and something to write with (I’ll also share additional tools that you may find helpful).
Keep in mind that while similar to notetaking for school study, Bible notetaking is distinctively different. When reading a textbook, you are looking for facts and leaving your personal “thoughts” out of it. When Bible notetaking, how engaged you are and having a willing spirit are critical factors.
Similarly, Bible reading and Bible study are different, as well. We read the Bible or we study the Bible. The first, is simply reading – for insight, enjoyment, etc. The second is deeply exploring God’s Word for context, meaning and message.
Bible reading & Bible study are different, We read the Bible or study the Bible. 1st is simply reading for insight, enjoyment, The 2nd is exploring God’s Word for context, meaning & message.
If reading the Bible is your goal, I recommend using a One Year Bible. This is the one that I am reading along with a group from our church. Each day, you’ll read a section from the Old Testament, a section from the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.
If truly understanding God’s Word is your goal (and applying it to your life), you’ll want to consider something more in-depth, such as taking notes in your Bible and journal. I’ll share below my simple Bible study method for doing so, but whichever your goal is (reading the Bible or deeper study), the most important thing to do is to set aside time each day. I do this in the morning – after my first cup of coffee, when I’m fresh. I also find that starting the day in His Word, sets up my day in a more positive way – by focusing on Our Heavenly Father.
- Pen or pencil
- Notebook or journal
- A willing heart
How to Study the Bible Using This Simple Bible Study Method:
- Always begin your Bible study in prayer. Ask God to speak to you through His Word and for help in understanding and connecting what you read.
- Select what you are going to read. I recommend choosing a book of the Bible. The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are great places to start, particularly if you are a new Christian or new to Bible study or Bible notetaking.
- Read through the book (or chapter, if you are breaking it up into days. I often do that if I only have so much time or if the book is particularly long) at least twice. You will be amazed at how much more you “pick up” or notice during your second or even third readings.
- Feel free to jot notes, circle words, phrases or verse or highlight passages as you read through. God will guide you and certain scripture will “jump out at you” as you read.
- Read the same book again and write (in a journal, notebook, your war binder, etc.) any verses or themes that jump out at you.
- Ask yourself questions (26 suggestions below) to help you engage in what you are reading and discern deeper meaning and application.
- Go back through your mark ups and notes and journal about what God is telling you about this book.
- Pray, using verses you have highlighted and your own insights as well as how God is telling you to apply this to your life.
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Questions for Studying the Bible
- When did this event occur in history?
- Who was involved or spoke what I am reading? (this often takes me on a side jaunt into a character study)
- Where did this happen? (Having a Bible map can be helpful for this, although many study Bibles include maps, including the Study Bible that I use)
- Who were they speaking or writing to?
- Why were they delivering this message or why was the event occurring?
- How can I apply this scripture to my life, right now?
- What do I learn about God?
- What do I learn about people?
- What do I learn about relating to God?
- What do I learn about relating to others?
- What does God want me to understand/think?
- What does God want me to do?
- What do you think is the key message of this chapter? Explain why you think this.
- What did you learn from this chapter?
- Which point in this chapter spoke to you the most? How did it affect you?
- Why do you think God included this chapter in the Bible? What’s the point?
- What was the context? What was going on at the time it was written?
- Do any of these truths written thousands of years ago apply today? If so, which ones? How do they apply?
- Are there truths in this chapter that contradict the ideas we hear in the world? If so, what are they?
- Is there something in this chapter that surprised you? If so, how were you surprised?
- Are there any verses in this chapter that confuse you or that seem to contradict other parts of the Bible?
- In view of what we have read, what changes do you think God would want you to make in your attitude, words, or actions?
- What is one passage that encourages you? How does it encourage you?
- What is one passage that inspires you? How does it inspire you?
- What is one passage that convicts you of sin? How does it convict you?
- What is one passage that challenges you to change? How does it challenge you?
Click the image below to download a PDF of the questions as a handy reference when you are studying the Bible.
Other Bible study tips:
- Consider reviewing the passage(s) in a different translation. For example. I read and study using NIV, but my One Year Bible is NLT. I also have other Bibles with different translations and a Hebrew/Greek Word Study Bible. You can also use online tools including Biblegateway.com
- If you don’t already use one, consider a good study Bible. I own and use two: The NIV Life Application Study Bible and Quest Study Bible. Both provide additional insight and explanations into what is happening in history at the time, maps, word meanings and much more.
- If you still yearn for more, consider investing in one or two additional tools for Bible study including concordances and histories of the Old and New Testament. You can find a comprehensive list of Bible study tools in this post.
In my Kneel Before the Throne Course: An In-Depth study on Ephesians, we use this method (and several more to truly excavate God’s Holy Word. It’s a great way to truly dig in and apply scripture to your life while learning new ways to study the Bible along the way.
You may also enjoy this video about How to Read & Study Your Bible by CambriaJoyVlogs
You may also enjoy these recommended resources for simple Bible study methods:
And, while not a Bible study method, per se, this book has been an invaluable resource for helping me understand the Bible and the context of each book.
Do you study the Bible on your own or use mainly written Bible studies? I’d love to know!
Because of Him,